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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Clearly not having learned from the furore surrounding Jack Straw’s handshake, Prince Charles has now grasped the hand of Robert Mugabe. Considering his luck lately, the poor fellow was bound to make some diplomatic gaffe, and if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly.

That said, it’s clearly not the best of ideas for the future King to be aligning himself with such people, but I do have a degree of sympathy for Charles, since he really couldn’t do right in this situation. Had he followed Ronnie Richard Corbett’s advice…

This was a golden opportunity to deliberately and very visibly refuse to shake hands with this man. To fail to do so was, frankly, stupid.

…then I think this would have looked somewhat inappropriate at the funeral of one of the most respected men in the world – a very solemn event.

One MEP said, according to the Beeb, that this was “flagrant breach of the EU travel ban”. This person clearly wasn’t very well informed – as a memeber of the European Paliament, one would expect that he’d know about important agreements such as the Concordat, which allows Mr Mugabe to travel through Italy to reach the Vatican, which is an independent state.

So, for once, I’m going to stick up for Charles on this issue, since I think he probably did the only thing he could in the circumstances. Whether the circumstance should have been allowed to rise is another matter, but surely not one for the Prince.

This 482nd post was filed under: News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / December 2019, 12 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / November 2019, 5 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / October 2019, 3 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / September 2019, 6 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / August 2019, 7 minutes long

Some random old posts

‘I wish I hadn’t said that’ / January 2005, 2 minutes long

How much is an astronaut’s life worth? / July 2012, Less than a minute long

Campbell thinks it’s all over… / April 2005, Less than a minute long

An interview with Iain Banks / April 2013, 1 minute long

Should you play the lottery? / October 2013, Less than a minute long

Bring back chat-show Charlie / March 2008, 2 minutes long


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